I have been thinking about Picard in The Inner Light and wondered what it would be like if the event happened in his infancy.
Imagine he is less than a year old. The probe transports him into another life where he is the same age, and has a new mother and a new family. He grows up into adulthood, has a family and becomes a grandparent. He dies, the whole event took all of 20 minutes and his consciousness returns back to his original consciousnesss, back to the same age and same family.
He may or may not remember most of the events of that 'life'. He plays around a little and 20 minutes later another probe arrives and sends him into a new life. Of course his real mother thinks he has fallen asleep again.
How many different lives could he live in a day, and what would his undeveloped mind make of it all?
Is there a constant part of him that could thread it all together, ie possesses a mature mind that could chain all the lives together and unravel them, although the adults in those experiences are unable to? A part that remains constant in both his childhood and adult conditions, both in his varying lives and in the life with his real mother?
It makes one wonder how long a length of time is, whether time is really absolute or just subjective. Are we falling asleep in some other life, and appearing to live whole lifetimes, in a wholly artificial sense of time, only to wake up in our real life realizing that just a short time has passed?
Is the sense of the duration of time one we manufacture ourself, a dream in which we have a sense of exercising controlled volition over a long period?
I am thinking of the Atman, the Self, which Jill Bolte Taylor appears to allude to in Two Birds On A Tree. Is that 'other' observer she saw witnessing herself having her exercising experience the observer that would be able to make sense of all these baby Picard's lives?
Is the Atman the being that remembers all of these Picard's lives? Is it ever present without the Picards and the babies ever being aware of its presence? Can they sense it, can they see it, will they awake to it?